When Disney bought Lucasfilm, they weren't just buying the rights to make the next Star Wars movie. They also gained access to the various subsidiaries owned by Lucasfilm; the effects houses Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound and its video game division, LucasArts.
LucasArts doesn't make very many non-Star Wars games these days, but they dominated the computer gaming scene in the '80s and '90s with original properties, and now that Disney has control of them, they'd be fools not to turn these into movies.
Note: Since Disney is still intent on making Pirates of the Caribbean movies, we're just going to leave the Secret of Monkey Island off this list, even though it'd make for a great film.
Back in the day the Dig made waves for being known as the "Steven Spielberg game." The director had first conceived of its plot for an episode of Amazing Stories, but it was too big for TV. So then it was positioned as a film, but it was too expensive for the big screen, so it ultimately became a point-and-click adventure game.
It's about a team of scientists who head into space with the intention of journeying into the heart of an asteroid that's about to smash into Earth and blow it to smithereens. What happens next, however, is a little different than Armageddon. Inside the asteroid the team finds a portal that transports them to a once-civilized, now-desolate alien planet. From there, they need to find a way back home. But maybe the planet isn't as dead as they first thought...
As great as the game is, though, a movie would certainly need to tap into Alan Dean Foster's superb novelization of it, which dives into the actual alien race more than the game does. But hey, Lucasfilm probably owns the book, too, so that shouldn't be a problem.
Grim Fandango is the kind of computer game that simply isn't made anymore. And that's not even talk about adventure games, but games with some true originality and quirk to them. This is a film noir-inspired story that takes place in a the world of the Aztec afterlife. Who the hell thinks to blend those two things together?
Tim Schafer, that's who. He's a legend in the gaming industry, but there's no reason he shouldn't also be a legend in the film industry. The man's games have personality to spare, and Grim Fandango is the kind of story that would kill as an animated film.
Unfortunately, that last bit makes a Grim Fandango movie unlikely. The Disney-owned Pixar is already developing their own Dia de Los Muertos-inspired film, and so it's understandable if the studio doesn't want to rush into making two animated movies about similar subjects. Though we do doubt Pixar's film have nearly as much boozing, smoking, corruption and plot twists as Grim Fandango does.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
We've already mused about the future of Indiana Jones now that Disney owns the ultimate adventure franchise, but what we didn't emphasize was that they're already sitting on a fantastic story just waiting for the big screen: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.
As you can no doubt deduce from the title, this rather special adventure game finds Indiana Jones once again in fisticuffs with the Nazis, only this time it's not over some artifact sitting in a cave. It's over the entire sunken civilization of Atlantis.
It does involve psychic powers and possession by an Atlantean god, so it's more out there than the original Spielberg trilogy, which are a bit more grounded even when dealing with face-melting and immortality. But still, even if some of the story gets more Kingdom of the Crystal Skull-y than most fans are used to, it's a good opportunity to have Indy face off against a familiar enemy while also bringing him to a whole new world.
Day of the Tentacle
As far as this writer is concerned, Day of the Tentacle is the jewel in the LucasArts crown that Disney should be aggressively developing into a feature film. It's the sequel to Maniac Mansion, and it finds three unlikely friends trying to prevent an evil Purple Tentacle from taking over the world. And if that sounds weird enough, we haven't even gotten to the time travel aspect, which requires each of the main characters to use time machine toilets to send useful items across time and space to one another.
It's already the most family-friendly property in this list, but it's the kind of smart, sophisticated, and funky science fiction that adults can appreciate alongside kids. Think of it like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and you'll be in the same tonal ballpark. And it wouldn't matter if Disney did it animated or live action, either would be perfect for the material. If you gave Day of the Tentacle to someone like Brad Bird to direct, it would surely be a glorious, geeky, long overdue masterpiece.
Make it so, Disney. Make it so.
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